Learn what the best fonts are for your resume in 2024 with our list of recommendations. Plus, discover what makes a good font and which ones to avoid.
Details matter in job hunting –– and a significant one is the font you choose for your resume. A font can say more than words, subtly conveying professionalism, attention to detail, and even a bit of your personality. But with an overwhelming array of options, which ones set the right tone for such an important document?
In this guide, we'll learn why fonts matter for your resume, what fonts you should use depending on the position you’re applying for, and what size font to use for your resume. We’ll also take you through helpful tips to ensure you choose the correct font and boost your chances of getting the job.
Why does your resume font matter? 🤔
Of all the websites you’ve ever visited, chances are you’ve seen a few that use an awful font. Maybe it was unreadable or aesthetically unpleasant, or the contradiction between the font and brand was jarring. And you likely didn't pay much attention to the content because you were so focused on the font.
Along with general aesthetics, here are a few other reasons why your font choice matters in a resume:
- Readability: Some agencies and companies use an applicant tracking system (ATS) that organizes and scans your resume. If your font isn't readable, it won't pass through the ATS seamlessly.
- Professionalism: While some fonts seem professional, some don’t, so you'll have to choose one that shows you're taking the process seriously.
- Attention to detail: Recruiters might want to read between the lines, and the little things you mention in the right font will help them glean your resume.
- Rendering: Some fonts render differently on different devices, so using a web-safe font helps your document appear as intended.
What are the best fonts to use for a resume or portfolio? 🤓
Selecting the perfect font when building your portfolio or resume is like choosing the right attire for a job interview. It's not just about looking good –– it's about conveying the right message. Here's a curated list of fonts that strike a balance between professionalism and aesthetics, complete with their strengths, weaknesses, and a few alternative options for each:
The Verdana font was designed to be easy to read even when using a small font size, perfect for fitting more into a resume. Created in 1996, its design still comes across as clean and modern nearly 30 years later. It's also considered a neutral font (not too casual but not too formal), so it can work across many professions and industries.
Alternatives: Futura, Helvetica, and Arial all look similar.
Times New Roman 📰
If you're applying for a corporate position, this is the best professional font due to its corporate and classic design. It's a web-safe font, so an ATS or recruiter will read it without problems, and it will display correctly on all devices. However, it takes up a lot of space and can be forgettable due to how overused and outdated it is.
Alternatives: Montserrat, Raleway, and Playfair Display all look similar but are more modern.
Calibri has become the preferred font for many professionals because of its modern look and readability, both for ATS and recruiters. The font is also relatively light, meaning you can add more to your resume and keep it to one page. It's better suited to more formal industries, although the font is relatively neutral. This neutrality also means your resume might not stand out from others.
Alternatives: Carlito (Google font), Lato, and Segoe UI all look similar.
Arial is one of the most used fonts because of its simplicity and legibility but also for its modern, clean look. This font choice is excellent for creative positions because of its minimalist design, and many designers use it when creating their portfolios. It doesn't take up much space, and ATS can easily read it. However, the font is non-innovative because everyone uses it, and it isn't suited for formal positions.
Alternatives: Swiss, Candara, and Trebuchet MS all look similar.
If you want to look distinguished, try Georgia. The font has a classic yet elegant look with a modern touch. You can use this font in resumes for many industries and positions, but because of the traditional feel, there are better choices for creative fields. Although it’s readable in smaller font sizes, it's difficult to read on a smaller screen.
Alternatives: Merriweather, Lora, and Garamond all look similar.
Helvetica is the font of choice in the design industry because of its timeless, classic, and clean look. Your resume will benefit from the organized and structured look of the font's clean lines. That said, your professional history might look uninspired because this font is very widely used and empty if there's not a lot of content because of its simple, non-occupying design.
Alternatives: Roboto, Proxima Nova, and Nimbus Sans all look similar.
If you want something like Times New Roman but more modern yet timeless, Cambria is the font for you. This font is perfect for traditional or professional positions, like law or finance. However, it takes up a lot of space, which can make an empty resume look complete, but this can also work against you. It can be generic, so recruiters might think of you as uninspired.
Alternatives: Palatino Linotype, Book Antiqua, and Crimson Text look similar.
Avenir Next 💸
If you want to appear sophisticated, Avenir Next is an excellent choice with a premium price tag. The font is sleek, elegant, and modern, making it a preferred choice for resumes targeting creative positions. It's readable in any font size, but the downside is that many systems might not have it installed since it's pretty new.Alternatives: Aileron, Source Sans Pro, and Gotham all look similar.
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What fonts to avoid ❌
As you may have guessed, managers and recruiters prefer modern, sleek, timeless, or classic fonts. Fonts that you should avoid would be anything that closely relates to Comic Sans. But why? That’s because it's too informal, bubbly, and hard to read. You should also avoid fonts that are heavily stylized or considered to be a gimmick. For example:
- Brush Script
- Curlz MT
How to choose the best resume font and size ✍️
Typography is a mainstay of effective communication — in the context of your resume or portfolio, the right font and size can make the difference between clarity and chaos. To ensure your documents stand out in the best possible way, consider the following guidelines:
- Use the correct font size: Aim for 14–16 pts for headers and contact information so this information stands out. The headings should be 12–14 pts to differentiate it from the content, and subheadings should be 11–12 pts. The rest of the document can be 10–12 pts, depending on the font and layout to ensure readability.
- Select simple and easy-to-read fonts: Many typefaces and fonts exist, but in terms of fonts, specifically, the serif fonts have lines at the end of each stroke, making them a bit more readable (although many consider them outdated). Sans-serif fonts, on the other hand, don't have lines and are more rounded, appearing more elegant and contemporary.
- Choose role-relevant fonts: If you're applying for a creative role, a slightly more distinctive font can work in your favor. But for more conservative industries, sticking to classics like Arial or Times New Roman is a safer choice. Of course, it also depends on the company and how approachable it wants its brand to be.
- Stylize thoughtfully: Choose a font you can bold, underline, and italicize to highlight specific information within the resume.
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